R.M. Burthom - Author
Reading from THE DOLL by the Author
Chapter 29 & 30
Janie’s feet pounded the pavement. Her breath was labored and the air burned her nostrils as she struggled with the air into her lungs. She looked to her right. Jerome was there. He was running too. Behind her, the shining yellow eyes were closing in on them fast. Running became more difficult due to the slippery conditions as the pavement turned to wet grass and mud.
They were running in the woods now, behind a large brownstone mansion. Janie didn’t know how they had gotten there or who lived in the brownstone. All she knew was she had to save herself and Jerome from the evil monster that was closing in on them. The woods were thick and very dark, making seeing almost impossible, and the terrain grew more complex as branches scraped their arms and logs from fallen trees blocked their path. Janie turned to see if she could see Jerome just before they arrived at the clearing. But, he wasn’t there, somehow he had already past her.
She found him in the clearing, which she found was not actually a field like she thought. It was much lighter now as the moon shone brightly in the starless sky. Janie could see there were lots of small grass-covered hills all across the clearing. At the head of each little hill was a flat, weather worn stone that protruded out of the ground at odd angles. Jerome had stopped running, but it wasn’t to make it easier for Janie to catch up. She found him kneeling in front of one of the mounds. He was crying and rocking back and forth.
“Jerome, Jerome, what are you doing? What’s wrong?” Janie whispered loudly, as she approached him.
Jerome didn’t answer. He continued to rock and whimper in front of the mound.
“Jerome, what are you doing,” Janie whispered again, louder this time. “Jerome come on we need to get out of here or we are going to die.”
“It’s too late,” he wailed loudly, his voice echoing in the silence.
“What are you talking about?” Janie said panicking, “The monster is coming. We need to go now or we will both die.”
“It’s no use,” he told her between sobs, “you’re already gone.
“I’m not gone. Jerome I’m right here. Damn it, listen to me, get off your butt now and run,” Janie demanded, tired of this childish behavior, when they were so close to being eaten by the monster that was bound to find them soon.
“It’s too late you’re already dead,” Jerome repeated, pointing at the words written on the stone.
Janie realized Jerome was pointing at a tombstone. They were in a cemetery and the words on the stone, was her name. Janie started screaming and clawing at the dirt, trying to dig herself out.
When Janie woke screaming and clawing at her sleeping bag it was morning. The others were still slowly rising looking forward to their morning slap awake, in the form of a cup of bad coffee. Janie received some concerned looks as she sat up rubbing her eyes. When she realized they might have heard her screaming, she lay back down for a moment embarrassed. When Janie regained her composure and sat up the second time, she felt something in her lap. It was the doll. Terrified, Janie jumped out of bed and ran to get Nancy.
“Nancy I need to talk to you,” Janie said her voice full of urgency and panic.
“Can it wait until after breakfast? The rest will be up soon,” Nancy, said annoyed with Janie’s insistence.
“No Nancy, please, Janie begged, “I need to talk to you now.”
Nancy sighed. She figured she’d get whatever this silliness is over with so she can get on with the rest of her busy day. “Well, all right then. Let’s go over there and talk. I’ll just get Eva to watch this.
Janie grabbed a couple faded folding chairs and followed Nancy towards the back of the warehouse out of earshot of the others.
“So what is so urgent that it couldn’t wait until after breakfast?” Nancy asked curiously, sitting heavily on the seat of her hard plastic chair.
“It’s Meryl. She came back again last night,” Janie, blurted out.
“What do you mean she came back?” Nancy asked her voice thick with sarcasm.
“I’ve been hiding her at the far end of the warehouse where nobody ever goes. I put her in a hole that I found hoping that my nightmares would stop. Then the night before last, I woke up in the middle of the night and Meryl was there in my bed as if she had never left. That’s when I woke you up. Do you remember that?” Janie paused to take a long shaky breath.
“Yes I remember,” Nancy said.
Swallowing hard Janie continued, “So after you went back to sleep I went and hid Meryl again. Only I put her in a different spot. I keep hiding her but when morning comes, I wake up Meryl is in my lap. I’ve hidden her several times but she just keeps coming back all the time. I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t take this anymore,” Janie’s voice raised several octaves as she spoke hysterically. “The nightmares, they just keep getting worse and I just can’t seem to get rid of that damn doll. I hate it. I want it gone. I wish I had never seen it before. I hate that doll. I hate it,” her voice trailed off. Heart was hammering in her chest so fast it made her suddenly short of breath. She was furious at a doll. How stupid and ridiculous but true it sounded. She knew she needed help. Something had to be done, but what. Hopefully Nancy had some answers for her.
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